Faster Itanium 2 Due Next Week
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Intel will apparently get its promised kicker to the current Itanium 2 processors out the door next week. Earlier this summer, the word on the street was that Intel had hoped to get them to market by the Fall Intel Developer Forum show in early September. That didn't happen. But next week Intel will push out the faster "Madison" Itanium 2s, which will be something of a relief to Hewlett-Packard, NEC, Unisys, and a few other players that push the majority of Itanium iron.
Intel was widely expected to deliver its larger cache Itanium 2 processors, which had 9 MB of cache, a 33 percent increase in cache size over the current top-end Itanium 2s, at 1.7 GHz, 1.8 GHz, and 1.9 GHz clock speeds. The jump in clock speed from the current top-end 1.5 GHz, 6 MB cache chip to the 1.9 GHz chip (a 27 percent increase) should allow the servers based on the new Itaniums to do about one third more work. However, it is unclear whether Intel will launch the faster clock speeds. A few weeks ago, HP and Oracle ran a three-tiered SAP sales and distribution benchmark test that used a 1.6 GHz, 9 MB Madison chip. This could have been an early yield of the new chips, or it could be as far as Intel intends to push clock speeds for now. We'll know for sure next week.